Referrals – The Good, The Bad, The Useless
Are you often on the receiving end of ‘ referrals ’ but they aren’t converting into business?
Referrals are only great referrals if they turn into clients or customers!
If that is not happening, then these three things may be happening:
You weren’t genuinely pre-sold
This could mean you were one of several choices. Which is less of a recommendation and more of a list, unless there was a good reason for it, i.e. ‘I know you haven’t decided if you want to work with someone near your home or work. So here are two excellent accountants I know from both places.’
Or, the referral had some hesitation, either due to lack of confidence (see more below) or a comment along the lines of ‘well he is the best of the bunch’!
They don’t understand your market
If the referrals aren’t quite for the service you provide, or the potential customer expected a different price bracket for your service or product, then something isn’t right, and this needs remedying.
There is a block to the conversion
If the above two aren’t occurring, the potential customer is a great match, and you still aren’t converting, it is time to explore what is happening with your potential customer.
What can you do?
Educate! (This also works for those who you want to become referrers to your business).
Speak to the person referring customers to you. Clarify what you do, what type of customer fits your business AND tackle any concerns or hesitations they might have in referring you.
Ask them openly if there is anything they need to know more about, or what you can do to make them feel more confident in referring to you. They want to feel good and useful. They won’t want to jeopardise the relationship they have with the person they are referring on, so their confidence in being able to refer safely is key.
Of course, if you aren’t clear in what you do and don’t know what your ideal client, or market is, that will need reviewing first.
When developing relationships with potential referrers, your time is important. Focus your efforts on maintaining regular and positive contact, with those who have lots of access to your perfect customers, rather than someone who might only have one or two.
If conversion is the issue, you can now start exploring why that might be. Whilst you may feel uncomfortable, record yourself during a customer conversation (or listen to how your team are responding). What do you notice about your words, tone and volume. Consider where else might the conversion fall down. Too slow in getting back to them? Lack of ways for them to communicate with you?
A great way to know more, is to pick up the phone and ask them why they decided not to proceed. It may even be, given how hard receiving recommendations can be, and feeling heard, this conversation converts them!
If it is a training issue, book yourself, or your team, onto a course or webinar. There are some excellent resources available. In-house training is also available from various providers. Where needed, start to put into place better processes or channels of communication.
If the struggle to convert, sell or promote, is linked to confidence, hesitation in selling yourself or your business, discomfort with setting prices or determining your niche, then consult a trained coach to quickly move forward, change your mindset, and allow you to grow your business. After all, it is your business, let’s make it a great one!
Simona is a professional coach, mentor and speaker.
She takes her professional coaching skills, leadership and business development expertise, into businesses, to drive profitability, communication and performance, to the next level.
Business owners work with Simona on mindset and strategy to grow their business whilst leading a balanced life.
To find out more about coaching or to book her for your organisation, please email her on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her here.